The best laid plans etc. Thank heavens we are not a family that cares particularly about creating a perfect scenario at Xmas. Because we’re way off track this year. On Monday morning, Ben and Thomas were sick and Anna was coping with Eli, so I came to get him. Luckily I was pretty organized here for presents and food. So we had that day, a sleepover, and all next day together, by the end of which – after several playground visits in the mild air, where he wanted to play tag – Glamma was utterly spent. There was a lovely moment as I was chasing him around the playground, when I looked up to see a woman in a hijab beaming at us.
Eli and I spoke about missing Wayson – our first Christmas in many years without him. The ache of loss.
Anna by then was also not feeling well, but she came across last night to get Eli after the Xmas pageant which he and I attended together. Thank God, again, that I was not producing this year. The holy family dropped out at the last minute, and they recruited a family which had come to see the production; instead they found themselves gamely sitting in the straw with their baby. Perfection.
Everyone gets a gift of a home baked cookie as they leave the barn. On the way home, as Eli munched his treat, I was explaining the myths of Xmas – the baby in the barn, the star, the Wise Men – and he said, “This cookie is really good!” So much for myths. I realized this time that producing the pageant is like corralling cats – so many things go wrong. And yet it’s indestructible because so essentially sweet and spiritual. Standing, singing carols surrounded by hundreds of neighbours, small children, the very old, I always weep. Mary, Stephen, and I started this thing 20 years ago. What a blessing. I wrote to Mary today, it will show well on our ledger sheet when we’re standing at the Pearly Gates.
Last night, after Anna and Eli left, I went to Mary’s annual post-pageant party in the loveliest house in Cabbagetown, with the fire blazing and a huge feast and people I’ve known for 35 years, since our kids were very small, and now we’re grandparents.
Today, Anna is really sick and Thomas only a bit better, though Ben has recovered. Sam was nearly here when he had to turn around and go back and get the boys. So the boys are here, and Anna and Thomas are at home, probably will not make it over at all, their stack of presents still under the tree. We cancelled the friends with a new baby who were coming for dinner – risky since there’s sickness around – so it’ll be the four of us. The turkey, sweet potatoes, and stuffing are in the oven, potatoes are mashed, brussels ready to heat up, crackers to pull. We’ll watch The Polar Express, give them a bath, and then Sam will take them home to their poor parents.
No, just learned Thomas is going to come soon. Hooray. We’ll be five.
So – Christmas 2019, another memorable one, perhaps not for the right reasons, but c’est la vie. Lani gave me socks that are patterned with library stamps, Lynn sent from France some sparkling peridot earrings, I’ve been given TONS of chocolate and a big framed picture of … the Beatles. The racetrack I bought the boys is set up in the dining room and they’ve been zipping around. Sam just took them to the playground and as everything cooks, Glamma is having a moment’s peace with J. S. Bach and thou. The kitchen smells divine.
What matters most is health. My beloved Patsy, dear friend since 1970, had a devastating diagnosis this year but so far is fine. She always sends a beautiful poem for Xmas, and this year was no exception. It’s on the tree, with a delicate drawn oak leaf below. It reads:
knows when to
to fly with wind
and trusts the Earth
It made me weep, of course.
From my house to yours, I wish you health, both physical and psychic. May you have a joyful day and a healthy, happy, prosperous 2020. And thank you for sharing my journey through this blog. As Wayson liked to say: Onward.